The collapse of British Steel stopped Prestons of Potto making a profit last year, but its owner said the Northallerton company was now back in the black.

Its latest set of results, for the year ending 31 December 2019, showed that the haulage and warehousing company made a turnover of £16.4m, down 1.4% from the year before.

It also made a pre-tax loss of £97,000, although this was a significant improvement compared to its loss of £427,000 in 2018.

The company, which now employs its fourth generation of Prestons, said a £116,000 bad debt caused by British Steel entering liquidation in May 2019 pushed it into the red.

It added: “Despite the challenges faced as a result of Covid-19, trading during 2020 shows continued improvement for the company and the directors expect the results for the year ended 31 December 2020 to show a profit.”

Speaking to, chairman Anne Preston said the company had watched its costs carefully: “We have had to be very prudent,” she explained.

“We have worked very hard and our prudence has helped us a lot.”

Referring to British Steel, she said: “It was a big blow, they were quite a large client of ours.

“But it’s just one of those things.

“We would have gone into profit, but the company is on good form.

“2020 I can say is looking very good.”